Termites are a delicacy in the diet of some human cultures and are used in many traditional medicines.Several hundred species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious damage to buildings, crops, or plantation forests.However, some species, such as Hodotermes mossambicus, have compound eyes which they use for orientation and to distinguish sunlight from moonlight.Like other insects, termites have a small tongue-shaped labrum and a clypeus; the clypeus is divided into a postclypeus and anteclypeus.Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals.
Of the 3,000 termite species currently classified, 1,000 are found in Africa, where mounds are extremely abundant in certain regions.
Dampwood termites are found only in coniferous forests, and drywood termites are found in hardwood forests; subterranean termites live in widely diverse areas.
Most worker and soldier termites are completely blind as they do not have a pair of eyes.
The primitive giant northern termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis) exhibits numerous cockroach-like characteristics that are not shared with other termites, such as laying its eggs in rafts and having anal lobes on the wings.
Although termites are sometimes called "white ants", they are actually not ants.